Lago Ercina

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Site list (GPS fixes) Walks (GPS tracks)  Video clips Panoramas

Coordinates used

Electronic projects:

 Bat detector
 Lamp tests
 µ-controlled lamp
 SEPIC-based lamp
 ISP isolators
 Making SMT boards

Expedition logs:

  Spain 1973, 1974,
  1975, 1976, 1977,
  1979, 1982, 1983,
  1985, 1986, 1987,
  1988, 1989, 2000,
  2001, 2002, 2003,
  2004, 2005, 2006,
  2007, 2008, 2009,
  2010, 2011, 2012,
  2013, 2014, 2015,
  2016, 2017, 2018,
  2019, 2020, 2021,
  2022, 2023
  New England


 The Battle of
 El Mazuco

Expedition log, Summer 2008

Tinganón, Bulnes, Suarías, high Sierra towards Turbina, etc.

27.06 Friday.  Bill’s on the road to Stuttgart airport at 7:30; somewhat too early as the journey turns out to be only 45 minutes and check-in didn’t open until 10:00.  Take-off at 11:30, arrival on-time at 13:30.

At Bilbao airport the Europcar rental office didn’t want to bring forward the car rental time from 21:00 as had been agreed by phone the previous day.  However, after a polite discussion, they agreed and gave a bigger car too – and without any extra charge.

Bill heads off to a show cave, Pozalagua », not far from Ramales.  It contains the largest eccentric stalactites imaginable – some 0.5m long and weighing half a kilo!

Mike arrives at Bilbao at 19:55 and we proceed to Hostal Vista Alegre in Castro Urdiales and then into town for dinner.  Chuletillas and Lechazo Asado (roast lamb); washed down with Viña Izadi.

Chuletillas at El Roxin

Chuletillas at El Roxin

Saturday.  Lunch at Bar El Roxin📌, El Mazuco, but its popularity meant that the only parking to be had was 500m away at the “paddocks” between Pozo de Fresno and Bolugo.  Criollo, chuletillas, patatas alioli and the house tinto.  After lunch we walked up to the Ojo del Rio, and then drove to Tornería and walked to Rafa’s cabin, and finally a drive to Caldueñín📌 for a little caving (fairly low water).

Back to Llanes via El Sucón.  Dinner at La Marina – excellent fish, as always, and the Albariño de la casa was spot-on. 

29.06 Sunday.  Real caving in Cueva de Tinganón! The wooded path up from Llovio has been “modernized” by a couple of stiles but otherwise is much the same (hard going and muddy at times, with some slippery and steep parts and a scree crossing) – about 40 minutes.  The new GPS allowed an accurate fix all the way up to, and just inside 📌, the entrance].

For an easy cave Tinganón presented some amusing challenges for aging speleologists.  Route finding was still intuitive and the size as impressive as ever, but the pools and climbs were not quite as straightforward as they seemed to be 35 years ago! Even so, we remembered not to try and keep our feet dry.  In fact we waded in the water, sometimes thigh-deep.  A good trip up to the top entrance, around the loop (both branches with a stream), then back down the streamway took an hour and 40 minutes; out at 13:11.  LED lights all round worked well (headlamps for general movement, more powerful hand-torches as backup and for spotlighting).

Lunch at “Mesón Miño”, Ribadesella.  Fabada then escalopes, lomo, etc.

Llanus del Tornu, Bulnes

Llanus del Tornu, Bulnes

Monday.  Fine but quite cool weather so a good walking day.  Up the Bulnes Funicular and then a walk west up past Bulnes (El Castillo) to a small, very green, vega (Llanus del Tornu) at about 850m.  Lunch in Bulnes (La Villa).  Pote (a kind of fabada with reddish beans), cebollas rellenas, patatas con Cabrales – followed by 100g of Cabrales! Stopped by Rales on the way back and greeted María (Juanjo’s wife) and daughter Sandra.
Playa la Ballota

Playa la Ballota

Tuesday.  Morning plan was (a) photos of Playa la Ballota (achieved) and (b) visit the Bufones at Puerta.  The road to the latter, however, was being repaired, so we found ourselves sandwiched: followed by a bulldozer with a ton or two of gravel and following a grader that was flattening the road ahead very slowly.  Eventually reached a junction and got past the grader and made a circuitous route to Vidiango – ‘interesting’ driving.  Abandoning the Bufones to another day, headed west to Ribadesella for a pleasant menú in a nautical restaurant close to the ‘parking square’.

After lunch headed for Cangas and then revisited the Demués loop, although nothing was found other than the cave and hostal near the end which we already knew about.  Next to Malatería to follow the ‘Roman road’ valley going south and west from Mestas.  Very pretty, as noted in 1989, with a mill including a cider press 📌, but limestone was seen only near the mill and nothing speleological.

Dinner with excellent gambas al ajillo at the sidrería in the alley.

02.07 Bill’s Birthday.  Rain overnight and into the morning.  First via Unquera and Panes to search for Cueva Llonín. Directions were good, with parking spot shortly after right bend just as described. Path 20m further on 📌 led over stream then up banks and grass to an obvious cave 📌, which didn’t seem to go.  Thinking we must not have the right spot, we continued up the road to Llonín but found no other candidates.  Later decided that the entrance must be a bit of a thrutch, and resolved to return another year with overalls, etc.

Depression south of Suarías

Depression south of Suarías

Next objective was Cueva del Arco, again with directions from the OUCC 1976 report » and 1982, which placed it in the NW of the two large depressions south of Suarías.  Drove up past Suarías as far as possible then decided the arch must be behind the small peak📌 on the left (southeast) of the north-westerly depression, so we first contoured around the peak over sharp limestone then reached its top – no sign of an arch. Descended the steep bramble-and-gorse slope to the depression floor and continued on down.

It was now getting late (13:30) so we decide to split – Mike continued on down the depression, past the small sink and then over the pass at the northwest (behind the barn 📌). Still no sign of any arch, although there is an interesting hole in the cliff opposite the pass and at about the same altitude (approx: 📌).  We later decide this must be the arch, perhaps only visible as such from close by, as there was no other possibility seen.

Meanwhile Bill returned to the car and drove around the hill via Suarías, meeting Mike after his descent N from the pass (track). A late lunch in Panes and a stop in Purón, and later Boletus mushrooms at the sidrería near the tower for Bill’s birthday dinner.

Pico Turbina and Peña Llacia

Pico Turbina and Peña Llacia

Thursday.  Forecast is good for today, followed by two wet days, so this is the day for a high Sierra walk.  After stocking up with provisions, off to Tebrandi (where we started the Peña Blanca walk in 2005 📌). Up the path to a wood, then skirted the field to the SE to rejoin the main path to Braña de Asiego.  From there on generally followed cow paths past Braña Manzaneda in the direction of Pico Turbina (La Torbina) until it seemed a good idea to turn back at a 1000m mini-peak 📌 – very difficult terrain with huge depressions, but beautiful weather and stunning views.  A good walk, but not much speleological despite the karst.

Down to Arenas just in time for a late lunch of (canned?) lomo which tasted like tuna.  Back via Posada; dinner at the alley sidrería for more lomo and gambas al ajillo.

Peruyal cliff

Peruyal cliff

Friday. Despite the forecast, another beautiful day.  First objective Cueva Peruyal, south of Benia 📌.  Bill descends 100+m of passage to a 1m step and narrowing which needs caving gear and deserves a re-visit, while Mike circuits the cave depression to the south and west to a good view of Peña Santa and the Cangas valley.  The weather is so clear we decide to drive up to the lakes, for a lunch of merluza a la romana and local cheese. On the way down we spot new roads from Mirador de la Reina and later start to explore these from below near Llano de Con and Gamonedo de Onís.

Back to hotel to write up the log, etc.  Dinner at Cabañón (criollo, lomo al ajillo, lacón con patatas).

05.07 Saturday.  The rain arrived; good timing, really, as the day was to be spent travelling back east.  Usual restaurante at Ruente was not cooking, so instead we ate quite well (but more expensively) a few km NE, at Cos.  Bill happily devoured a large plate of lamb mellojas (sweetbreads).  On through the rain to Castro; good Bocartes (fresh anchovies) and merluza for dinner at the ‘last restaurant under the arches’.
06.07 Sunday – so the roads were almost empty for an easy 35-minute drive to BIO for Mike’s 10:20 flight.

Personnel: Bill Collis & Mike Cowlishaw.


  1. Exchange rate: 1.26; 79.2p = 1 Euro = 166 pesetas (209 pts/GBP).
  2. Weather: Dry and pleasant, except one overnight rain.
  3. Specific GPS (Garmin Geko 201/Garmin eTrex Vista HCx) positions are shown by a pushpin symbol (📌) in the log above – click on the symbol for a Google maps view of the fix.  These positions are also listed on the Speleogroup site list page with coordinates in °,′,″ degrees using WGS84 datum and in UTM coordinates; see Coordinate systems.
  4. Several walks were recorded as GPS tracks; the .gpx files are linked above and can also be found on the Speleogroup tracks page.
  5. This log was mostly edited in the field on an ASUS Eee PC 900, using the MemoWiki » extended Wiki notation which is then processed by a Rexx » script to generate the HTML for this web page.

Expeditions to the Picos de Europa and elsewhere since 1973.
Please e-mail Mike Cowlishaw ( or Bill Collis (
if you have any corrections, suggestions, etc.   See also the SpeleoTrove speleology section ».
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This page was last edited on 2021-10-01 by mfc.